Houston Cinema Arts Festival Set to Amaze Audiences Through November 14 – 18
Screenings from November 15 – 17 (Friday through Sunday) will be at 10 different cultural venues across Houston
Thursday, November 14
Opening Night: Waves: HOUSTON PREMIERE WITH DIRECTOR TREY EDWARD SHULTS AND BUN B at Museum of Fine Arts at 7:30 p.m. $20
Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. From acclaimed director Trey Edward Shults, Waves is a heartrending story about the universal capacity for compassion and growth even in the darkest of times.
Film followed by conversation between dir. Trey Edward Shults and rap legend Bun B and opening night party with DJ Flash Gordon Parks.
Friday, November 15
Yuli (co-presented by Houston Ballet) at MFAH, 4:00 PM, Tickets $12:
Yuli is the nickname given to Carlos Acosta by his father, Pedro, who considers him the son of Ogun, an African god and a fighter. As a child Yuli avoids discipline and education, learning from the streets of an impoverished Havana. His father, however, has other ideas, and knowing that his son has a natural talent for dance, sends him to the National Ballet School of Cuba. Despite his repeated escapes and initial poor behaviour, the boy is inevitably drawn to the world of dance, and begins to shape his legendary career from a young age, becoming the first black dancer to be cast in some of the most prestigious ballet roles, with the Houston Ballet and the Royal Ballet in London.
**Q&A with dancers Mireille Hassenboehler and Lauren Anderson following screening.**
A Hidden Life (Houston Premiere) at MFAH, 7:00 PM, Tickets $12:
Based on real events, from writer-director Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life is the story of an unsung hero, Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife Fani and children that keep his spirit alive.
Yellow Rose (Houston Premiere, co-presented by Asia Society Texas Center) at Asia Society, 7:30 PM, Tickets $12:
Rose, an undocumented Filipino girl, dreams of one day leaving her small Texas town to pursue her country music dreams. Her world is shattered when her mom suddenly gets picked up by immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rose, facing this new reality, is forced to flee the scene, leaving behind the only life she knows, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she searches for a new home in the honky tonk world of Austin, Texas. With Eva Noblezada, Lea Salonga, Gustavo Gomez and Dale Watson.
Space Dogs (North American Premiere) at Rice Cinema, 8:00 PM, Tickets $12:
Laika, a stray dog, was the first living being to be sent into space and thus to a certain death. According to a legend, she returned to Earth as a ghost and has roamed the streets of Moscow ever since. Following her trace, and filmed from a dog’s perspective, Space Dogs accompanies the adventures of her descendants: two street dogs living in today’s Moscow. Their story is one of intimate fellowship but also relentless brutality, and brutality of animals and humans, and is interwoven with unseen archive material from the Soviet cosmic era. A magical tale of voyagers scouting for unknown spaces.
**Film followed by Q&A with dirs. Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter.**
Saturday, November 16
Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus (Houston Premiere, co-presented by ArCH) at MFAH, 1:30 PM, Tickets $12:
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Walter Gropius’ Bauhaus with this lively and wide-ranging exploration of the movement uniting modern design, art, architecture and performing arts with communal social living to form an academic discipline and utopian way of life. Combining free imagination and play with strict structure, Bauhaus’ members incuding Anni Albers, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, László Moholy-Nagy, Oskar Schlemmer and more. The most comprehensive film on its subject to date, Bauhaus Spirit explores this influential 20th-century movement’s history, legacy, and continued relevance in an age where function and environmental sustainability have taken on new urgency.
**Followed by panel discussion about the MFAH’s Bauhaus architectural history.**
For All Mankind (co-presented by Moody Center for the Arts) at Rice Cinema, 3:30 PM, Tickets $12:
Al Reinert’s documentary For All Mankind covers the nine crewed Apollo missions, with narration from 13 of the 24 astronauts involved, as one single mission. Forty years after the first moon landing, it remains the most radical, visually dazzling work of cinema yet made about the Apollo missions, and especially Apollo 11. With a score from Brian Eno and made from NASA’s own infinite film archive and documentation. To say it has gone on to influence a new generation of filmmakers since its release 30 years ago is an understatement.
**Followed by a brief conversation with artist/curator Peter Lucas and the film’s producer, Betsy Broyles Breier about Al Reinert and the genesis of the film, and in celebration of the 30th anniversary of For All Mankind.**
**Al Reinert (1947-2018) was from Houston, and received an Oscar nomination for For All Mankind, as well as for co-writing the screenplay for Apollo 13.**
Moon Shot Exhibit Walkthrough at Moody Center for the Arts, 5:30 PM, FREE Event:
The Moon Shot exhibition at the Moody Center for the Arts features works responding to the moon landing by a selection of innovative artists active from 1969 to the present. The galleries will remain open past normal hours from 5:30-7:30pm so film attendees can experience this exhibition. Notable works include Robert Rauschenberg’s Stoned Moon series of 34 lithographs, which will be shown together as a group for the first time since their creation in 1969-1970; Andy Warhol’s Moonwalk (1987) which represents the moon landing as an iconic moment in television history; and Laurie Anderson’s virtual reality work, To the Moon (2018), co-created with Hsin-Chien Huang, which allows visitors to take their own experimental journey through space. Notable works by Siah Armajani, Antony Gormley and Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan, Nancy Graves, Rachel Rose, Katy Schimert, and Michelle Stuart will also be featured.
A Taste of Sky, Taste of Houston (Texas Premiere, co-presented by Cafe Brasil) at Brasil, 6:30 PM, Tickets $37:
In the Bolivian capital of La Paz, a city that sits 13,000 feet above sea level, an ambitious and unlikely culinary project has connected three people from vastly different backgrounds and is forever changing their lives. Kenzo, a hunter raised in the wild of the Bolivian Amazon, and Maria Claudia, a native of the Andean altiplano, are far from home. They have come to La Paz for Gustu, a groundbreaking fine-dining restaurant and cooking school for the country’s underprivileged youth. As the film unfolds we explore their pasts and trace how their lives have led them to where they are today. Set against the backdrop of one of the world’s most breathtakingly gorgeous countries, A Taste of Sky is a sensory experience that takes audiences on an epic journey across the rugged vistas of Bolivia, and is an exploration of family, mentorship, and legacy – all viewed through the powerful lens of food.
**This film is served with a special localvore dish and a signature cocktail.**
Sugar Cane Alley (supported by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy) at MFAH, 7:00 PM, Tickets $12:
Sugar Cane Alley begins with sepia-toned postcards views of old Martinique, as if to emphasize that the film which follows is going to take us far beyond nostalgic distance and exotic local color. An audience pleasure as well as an adventurous work of cinema, Euzhan Palcy’s Sugar Cane Alley established her as a major new filmmaking talent. Set in Martinique in 1931, the film paints a rich impasto of native life under French colonial rule, filtered through the coming-of-age of a bright, sweetly, opportunistic black boy learning to reconcile the value of his shanty-town roots with the educational opportunities that beckon him to the big city. Although Palcy displays a masterful command of storytelling, atmosphere, comedy, and characterization, this rainbow of a movie is anything but sedate and old-fashioned: keyed on kinetic, offbeat cutting rhythms that refract the graceful arc of the action into pointillist flurries of movement, textures and color, it achieves a blend of artful casualness, unsentimental humanism, and clear- eyed social consciousness whose like has perhaps not been seen since the early masterpiece of Jean Renoir and Vittorio De Sica. Adapted from Joseph Zobel’s 1950 novel La Rue Cases-Nègres.
**Film followed by Q&A with dir. Euzhan Palcy.**
CineSpace 2019 at Rice Cinema, 7:30 PM, Tickets $12:
Finalists of the fifth annual CineSpace international competition, a collaborative project of the Houston Cinema Arts Society and NASA. The event features the announcement of the three top winners selected by Academy Award© nominated director Richard Linklater. NASA will also award special prizes in three categories. Entries are competing for a total of $26,000 in prizes.
When I Get Home at The DeLuxe Theater, Two showings at 7:30 PM & 9:30 PM, FREE Event:
Visual artist and singer/songwriter Solange Knowles presents an extended directors cut featuring new scenes and musical arrangements of her interdisciplinary performance art film When I Get Home. When I Get Home is an exploration of origin and spiritual expedition. The film confronts how much of us have we taken or left behind in our evolutions, and how much fear determines this? The artist returned to her home state of Texas to answer this through an expedition of a futurist rodeo uplifting the narrative of black cowboys and honoring her Houston lineage through this visual meditation.
Marriage Story at MFAH, 10:00 PM, Tickets $12:
Marriage Story is Academy Award nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. The film stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta co-star.
Sunday, November 17
Varda by Agnes at MFAH (Texas Premiere), 1:00 PM, Tickets $12:
Agnès Varda takes a seat on a theatre stage. This professional photographer, installation artist and pioneer of the Nouvelle Vague is an institution of French cinema but a fierce opponent of any kind of institutional thinking. In this film, she offers insights into her oeuvre, using excerpts from her work to illustrate – more associatively than chronologically – her artistic visions and ideas. Her lively, anecdote-rich and clever talk is divided into two sections.
Nailed It at Asia Society, 2:00 PM, Tickets $12:
In virtually every city, state and strip mall across the U.S., women get their nails done in salons likely owned by Vietnamese entrepreneurs. How did this community come to dominate an $8 billion dollar nail economy? Nailed It takes viewers from Los Angeles to the Bronx to meet the diverse people and relationships behind this booming and enigmatic trade. Nailed It premiered on PBS in May 2019, and is the highest streamed film of the America Reframed series.
**Film followed by Q&A with dir. Adele Pham.**
For Sama (Texas Premiere, co-presented by Holocaust Museum Houston) at Holocaust Museum Houston, 3:00 PM, Tickets $12:
For Sama is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter as well as a filmmaker’s self-portrait, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice – whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter’s life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much. The film is the first feature documentary by Emmy award-winning filmmakers Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts.
**Film followed by panel discussion.**
Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes (Texas Premiere, co-presented by DACAMERA) at MFAH, 3:45 PM, Tickets $12:
Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes explores the unique vision behind the iconic jazz record label. Through rare archival footage, current recording sessions and conversations with Blue Note artists, the film reveals a powerful mission and illuminates the vital connections between jazz and hip hop. With Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, Norah Jones, Don Was and many more.
**Film preceded by short, live 80th anniversary tribute concert to Blue Note Records by the Woody Witt Quartet.**
Ben DeSoto: For Art’s Sake (co-presented by Houston Latino Film Festival) at Rice Cinema, 7:00 PM, Tickets $12:
The story of Ben DeSoto, a Houston photographer who worked as a photo journalist for the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post for 30 years. These opportunities allowed him to capture and document diverse genres of the early Houston underground punk scene, major touring acts, rap/hip hop culture, and current events.
**Program includes pre-screening reception and post-screening panel with directors Michael Witnes Zapata and Andrew Benavides and photographer Ben DeSoto.**
Black Rodeo at MFAH, 7:30 PM, Tickets $12:
In 1972 Harlem a Black Rodeo show rides into Randall’s Island, NY to perform in front of a large crowd of enthralled spectators. This critically acclaimed documentary captures that show, as well as one-on-one interviews with the rodeo performers themselves and various members of the audience. Muhammad Ali himself is also on hand, clowning his ways around the crowd and the cowboys, having a great time with all. The film also features an extended discussion by actor Woody Strode (Spartacus, John Ford’s Sergeant Rutledge) about the long-suppressed history of the Black Cowboy. Black Rodeo from Jeff Kanew (Revenge of the Nerds) received critical acclaim in 1972 but has been rarely seen until now.
**Film followed by panel with dir. Jeff Kanew, internet archivist Bri Malando, and Black Rodeo Riders.**
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18
Always in Season at The Deluxe Theater, 7 p.m. FREE: Directed, produced, and written by Jacqueline Olive, Always in Season explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching nearly 5,000 African Americans and connects this form of racial terrorism with racial violence today. At the height of their popularity, lynchings attracted tens of thousands of white men, women, and children spectators. They were public events, complete with souvenirs and photographs. Train seats were even specially reserved for out-of-towners to watch. Victims were tortured, mutilated, and photographed for hours. Lynching was like the sport of hunting, and black people were “always in season.”
Portrait of a Lady on Fire at MFAH, 7 p.m., $12: Winner of a coveted Cannes prize and one of the best reviewed films of the year, Portrait of a Lady on Fire solidifies Céline Sciamma as one of the most exciting filmmakers working in the world today. Noémie and Adèle Haenel turn the subtle act of looking into a dangerous, engrossing thrill, crafting the most breathtaking and elegant performances of the year. To watch Marianne and Héloïse fall in love is to see love itself invented onscreen. With contemporary themes in period dress, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is one of the greatest love stories ever told.
The Science of Fictions at Rice Cinema, 7 p.m., $12: A man (actor Gunawan Maryanto) in Indonesia witnesses the faking of the moon landing in 1965, also the year of the Communist purge of Indonesia and Suharto’s take over of the country. His tongue is cut off and he copes perhaps by moving through life in a slow moon walking trance, ultimately invited to join a traveling dance trope. A meditation on trauma, avoidance, hypocrisy, fear, resilience and creativity, and the many manifestations of truthiness.
About the Festival
The Houston Cinema Arts Festival is a five-day, multi-venue festival that includes a multitude of narrative and documentary films, live multimedia performances, panel discussions, Meet the Makers workshops, and free outdoor and student field trip screenings. In its relatively short history, HCAS has brought notable guest artists, such as Tilda Swinton, Alex Gibney, Guillermo Arriaga, Isabella Rossellini, John Turturro, Shirley MacLaine, Rick Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Fisher Stevens, Robert Redford, Tracy Letts, James Ivory, Julie Taymor, Will Forte, and Thomas Haden Church among many others, to the festival.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.cinemahtx.org.
PHOTOS: courtesy of Houston Cinema Arts Society